The what? Let me explain…
No matter what the professional discipline, clients expect their advisors to be masters in it. In a competitive world where differentiation on a basis other than cost is preferable, the need is great for professional service firms to continue to invest in their core skills. In addition, as the world continues to become better connected it is easier for clients to procure mastery on a global basis. Long gone are the days when a client has to rely solely on their local market to address their needs. In my own experience, I can think of many cases where a client has clearly sought to find the very best firm (or person within a firm) on a global level to address their need. Of course, there will always be a market where clients’ source locally or on a cost basis for a ‘capable skill set’ for a ‘routine need’ but as the importance of the issue increases so does the need for mastery.
This raises the important question of how well our organisations are creating the right environment for mastery to thrive. My introduction to the term ‘institutionally driven mastery path’ came from Mark Divine, a former Navy Seal Commander. His reference was to how the Navy Seals design their organisation to ensure that mastery becomes inevitable. Now, to be fair, most of us aren’t training to become elite warriors but the principle is the same, we are still pursuing mastery in the areas of importance to our clients.
The next time you review the whole concept of practice within your firm; think about how successful you are in creating the institutionally driven mastery path for your people. I intend to write further on how you can do this, but for now – over and out.